17 September 2009

Get kids involved

Every year, I plant something in the garden for my kids. Last year, it was chocolate cosmos (they actually smell like chocolate!). This year, we planted midnight candy, purple pole beans, strawberries and nasturtium (pictured above). Oh yes, we planted much more than that, but I find that having just a few things in the garden tailored to your child's personality can really get them interested.

This year, planting and harvesting was not a chore for Mom alone. The kids really enjoyed helping. From start to finish, they learned so much about the growing process, our planet, nutrition...and had fun doing so.

When I heard that nasturtiums were both edible and easy to grow, I knew they would be on our to-plant list. My daughter simply adores flowers of all kinds, and the idea of eating flowers for dinner made her squeal in delight. Well, we didn't eat them for our whole dinner, but they certainly did brighten up many salads throughout the summer! My daughter loves to bring her friends to the backyard and have them taste a flower. She really takes pride in being able to teach her friends about edible flowers.

How do they taste? Mild, a bit peppery, but mostly like any other lettuce you would find in a "spring mix." This post from Make and Takes mentions that the leaves are edible, too. Wouldn't that make such a pretty salad? (You have been to Make and Takes, right? They have such great kid ideas!)

If you haven't tried nasturtiums, add them to your list for next spring. (But sow them straight into the ground or pot; they don't like to be transferred!) If flowers aren't your thing, try a cherry tomato in a wacky color, or purple beans, or a pizza garden...whatever will get your child interested. It's worth it.

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